Maine Landfills Going Solar

The current population of the state of Maine is estimated to be 1.34 million people. In May 2019, state utilities used renewable energy (87.1%), natural gas (12.5%) and coal (0.5%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, wind and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in Maine.

Concerns over climate change have prompted Maine’s legislators to require utilities to accelerate the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Maine is one of 30 states that has an enforceable statewide renewable portfolio standard. The standard requires that 30% of the electricity sold in the state comes from renewable sources.

Maine is one of the leading states in the use of renewable energy to generate electricity in America. However, Maine is continuing to develop new renewable energy projects and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cities across the state are now looking to convert capped landfills into solar parks.

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reports the state has over 400 capped landfills. Capped landfills have a barrier between the waste and the surface. The state has mandated that all capped landfills have a plan in place to close them by 2025.

Maine’s DEP has strict regulations on what can be built on a former capped landfill. A building can’t be constructed within 100 feet of the solid waste area of any former landfills. However, the DEP has approved the installation of solar photovoltaic arrays on all former landfills.

In 2015, Maine’s first municipal solar landfill project was completed in the town of Belfast. Landfill projects have now been completed in the cities of Fairfield, Portland, South Portland, Tremont, Waldoboro and Waterville. Solar landfills are proving to be an environmental effective technique to re-developing capped landfill lands and generate low-cost, clean, green energy.

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